Archive for September, 2012

DCAS scores vanish again

September 21, 2012 6 comments

This Home Access Center page used to display all past DSTP and DCAS scores. I’m sure it’s just a data loading problem, but they need to get a handle on it soon.

Schools are now staking everything on data-driven decision making driven by DCAS scores. Is this what teachers are seeing too on their Teacher Dashboards?

Come on DDOE data gurus, summer’s over. The kids are back in school and are already taking DCAS tests again. At least put out an explanation so parents aren’t left in the dark (or in this case, in the blank).

UPDATE 9/22: From the Data Warehouse RFP for Education Insight:

Current, operational data (for the current school year) will come from the eSchool Master. This database is a nightly consolidation of the data contained in 43 separate eSchool instances used by Delaware’s school districts and charter schools. Current data will appear to dashboard users exactly as it does in eSchool.

Historic data will be populated from the “cleansed” data in the Insight Data Warehouse.


Red Clay parents: Take back RCPAC

September 20, 2012 1 comment

Red Clay parents, we need more of you at RCPAC!

Please come out to the RCPAC meeting next Monday Sept. 24 at 6pm at Baltz Elementary. We need more parents and more ideas added to the discussion. You can bring the kids! – a light dinner and child supervision is provided, and they can get their homework done. I’ll post the agenda when I receive it.

[Update 9/22: It was pointed out to me that Red Clay is not necessarily prepared for an unexpectedly large number of people to show up. While I think this is extremely unlikely, and would be a GOOD problem to have, if you do go for the first time, please be aware that only enough food and child supervision is available for the number anticipated, so please be considerate. Also, like any public meeting, don’t speak out of turn. Members and non-members alike should make sure they are recognized by the chair before speaking. For updated info click here.]

RCPAC is the Red Clay Parent Advisory Council, as described by Red Clay:

The Red Clay Parent Advisory Council (RCPAC) is comprised of parent representatives from each school and concerned community members who support Red Clay schools. Monthly RCPAC meetings serve as a direct link between parents, schools and the school district. RCPAC members make recommendations concerning parent involvement, communication issues and support initiatives to improve student achievement in all schools.

Actually in my opinion, that last part about parents making recommendations seems to have been lost over the years, and we need to bring it back! I can’t recall a parent ever making a motion on the floor, or a vote on any parent recommendation. Also in my observance, the RCPAC meetings are chaired de facto not by elected RCPAC officers, but by the District staff liaison. And last time I checked, nearly half the parent membership were also District employees. Who are great and dedicated members, but we also need more unaffiliated parents for a broader view.

Let’s turn it around! We need YOUR VOICE to bring RCPAC up to its full potential as a parental advisory body. Bring your issues to the group and get the conversation going again so we can start doing some Parent Advising and bringing strong parent recommendations to the Board.

Some District and school officials (including principals) are under the impression that only two parents from each school may join RCPAC. This is not true, so please come one, come all. The bylaws say at least two members from each school, not only two members. But you don’t even need to represent a school. RCPAC meetings are open to the public and anyone may attend.

To be a voting member you need to be appointed by any principal (just ask; they are usually having trouble finding someone). But being a voting member hardly matters, since in two years I can’t recall a general vote on anything other than approval of minutes or election of officers.

[…] Read more…

You know you are tough when you win anti-bullying concessions from Rahm Emanuel

September 19, 2012 Comments off

Chicago teachers and students are back in class today after their union voted to suspend the strike. The new contract includes significant concessions to teachers. The full membership will vote on the contract later, which is endorsed by leadership and is expected to be accepted.

Chicago teachers won in large part because of the support of parents. Chicago teachers went out of their way to welcome and cultivate alliances with parents (take note, DSEA). Also because the union clearly articulated and fought for their agenda, which was aligned with parents’ hopes and obviously so much more pro-student than the administration proposals.

Even though the union did not win their demands for lower class size, parents understood teachers were fighting for their children on what matters.

Another recently formed group, Parents4Children, picketed alongside teachers throughout the week. With 1,000 supporters, the group organized this year to stand up against “teacher bashing,” according to parent Erica Clark.

“We support the teachers union because they are fighting for the same things we are, the things that matter in the classroom, like smaller classes, better curriculums with art and music,” said Clark, who has a teenage son in CPS.

CTU President Karen Lewis:

“This Union has proven the Chicago labor movement is neither dormant nor dead,” Lewis continued. “Our members are on the line because we all believe there is an assault on our profession and public education in general. We will always do what is in the best interest of our students and our own children, many of whom attend these schools. We showed our solidarity and our strength, and with this new contract we have solidified our political power and captured the imagination of the nation. No one will ever look upon a teacher and think of him or her as a passive, person to be bullied and walked on ever again.”

UPDATE: Chicago teachers win significant concessions, vote today

September 16, 2012 1 comment


UPDATE Sunday 8:21 pm: Teachers vote to continue strike

I didn’t see that coming.

After the basic “frameworks’’ of an agreement were reached Friday, CPS officials had hoped delegates would find it warranted calling off the strike of the nation’s third-largest school system in time for classes to resume Monday.

Instead, delegates and union leadership said Friday that they wanted to see the deal “in writing” first. That skepticism continued Sunday, when delegates got a 23-page summary but not the final proposal, which is expected to number of 180 pages.

Trust, but verify.

Chicago teachers win contract concessions, including rejection of differentiated merit pay, limiting test score based evaluations to 30% (in Delaware it’s 50%), right of appeal for ratings, increased job security, and restoring art, music, and physical education. A CTU committee is to vote on suspending the strike at 3:30 today. A vote on the contract by the full membership would occur later.

[…] Read more…

Chicago librarian speaks

September 14, 2012 1 comment

Chicago public-school librarian Fran Feeley:

“I don’t accept the idea that charter schools and vouchers and testing kids eight weeks a year is going to solve the problems facing the public schools,” he said.

Red Clay parents: time to start checking your child’s grades

September 10, 2012 1 comment

Red Clay teachers are required to publish all test and assignment grades in Home Access Center within five days of the due date (ten days for bigger assignments). So as of today, all assignments due during the first week of school are required to be graded and viewable in HAC. (Note: HAC is used for Grades 4-12 in Red Clay; YMMV in other districts).

It’s great if your teachers have their own website or other means of communication, but HAC is where the rubber meets the road for parent engagement with schoolwork. HAC will show you due dates, grades, point weighting, all previous grades and assignments, and your child’s running grade average. It’s a great way to find out what your child is doing in class. Waiting for Interim Performance Reports or conferences is too little, too late.

To log into Delaware’s HAC system, click here. You can also check out the Parent Powered HAC Help (under construction), and contribute some questions to the HAC FAQ.

Parents should really log into HAC and check grades at least once per week (if not daily). If your child is having trouble with classwork, you can get involved and help them out before the high-point-value grades for unit tests or projects start rolling in. A properly updated HAC can empower parents to help turn a failing student into a passing student, or a B student into an A student.

You don’t want to find out the night before the test that your child has been struggling with those pre-test lessons. By the time most teachers tell you there is a problem, it is too late (unless they choose to keep up with HAC). All the metrics are looking at DCAS scores and marking period grades, not daily work. Interim progress reports are far too little and too late for effective intervention.

[…] Read more…

Chicago teachers ready to walk out on Monday; negotiating all weekend

September 8, 2012 Comments off


Chicago teacher unions vowing strike over same reforms Delaware is implementing

Via Daily Kos Education:

…while CTU President Karen Lewis said Friday morning that talks were improving, as of Friday afternoon a union spokeswoman said that “Talks are expected to continue through the weekend,” with union negotiators available “around the clock. If a contract is produced, a special session of our House of Delegates would be called in order to cancel a strike. As it stands there is no plan to do that.”